Verdict: An emotionally powerful story with heartwarming performances.
Kashmir is a favorite locale among Hindi filmmakers but there are very few who make movies about the region. With the political tensions that have been prevalent there since decades, filmmakers have a huge opportunity to bring the plight of the Kashmiris to the world as Aijaz Khan has done in his latest film Hamid. Told through the perspective of an eight-year-old boy, this heartwarming drama explores the relationship of Kashmiri locals with the Indian Army and the issues between the two factions. The film won hearts at Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival and Dharamshala International Film Festival, receiving a standing ovation in both.
What’s Hamid About:
When Rehmat (Sumit Kaul) – a Kashmiri boatmaker – goes missing, his wife Ishrat (Rasika Dugal) and eight-year-old son Hamid (Talha Arshad Reshi) are distraught. For over a year, Ishrat is making the rounds of the police station, hoping to hear some news of her lost husband. As he is presumed dead, Hamid’s classmates tease him saying that his father is with Allah. For the naïve Hamid, the only way to bring his father back is to talk to Allah directly and he gets his opportunity through a telephone call when he dials 786 – God’s number. The phone is answered by an army man named Abhay (Vikas Kumar) who is dealing with issues of his own. An unlikely bond is formed between the soldier and the child, as they help each other cope with life and loss.
If the plot and trailer of Hamid seem heartwarming, you have barely had a taste of the sweet story that follows. Aijaz Khan has captured the essence of life in this war-torn area without taking any sides. The story is delivered from the perspectives of the locals as well as the Army, but what touches you the most is the young boy and his mother’s journey to accepting the death of their family member. The film makes you laugh with its innocent humor and cry during the deeply moving scenes.
Sumit Kaul barely makes an appearance in the 2 hours and 15 minutes of the film but Rasika Dugal is there throughout and this role is quite a contrast from her strong character in Manto. Here, she is a broken woman, not willing to give up on finding her husband. She portrays the character well and from sadness to pity to remorse, you feel a range of emotions for her character. Talha Arshad Reshi as Hamid is simply fantastic, delivering one of the best performances we have seen by a child actor. Equally grouchy and naïve, he sets the mood in the film and his journey brings tears to your eyes towards the end. Vikas Kumar is also spectacular in his role and the companionship he strikes with the young Hamid churns out beautifully in the film.
What Could’ve Been Better:
From the sweet story to the brilliant performances and even the fascinating locales, there is no complaint you can have with Hamid. The movie is both engaging and a learning experience to understand the lives of people in a politically divided region.
Why You Must Watch:
If you have seen the director’s previous films (The White Elephant and Baankey Ki Crazy Baraat), you already have an idea of the brilliance he brings to the screen. Hamid is his best work and a must watch for the performances of Talha Arshad Reshi and Rasika Dugal. It is a story that will stay with you for a long time.